“Doctor Bunny, you still need to go check on the kid in bed five” Eden said, snapping me out of my trance.
“Sorry, I was miles away” I said, shaking my head a little and heading for bed five.
I’d been busy thinking about what Danny had done that morning. That wasn’t my fault, was it? I hadn’t done that to him by not coping... had I? I shook my head again, trying to clear it from my mind and focus on work but it didn’t really work like I’d expected.
“Hadley, are you okay?” Eden asked once I was done with the patient.
“I’m fine. Why?”
“You know what I mean, Hadley. You’re like a ghost these days”
“Sorry, I’ve been busy with the kids”
“Busy doing what? You never take them out anymore, you told me so yourself”
“I know” I whined. “I feel shit about it enough as it is”
“I wasn’t trying to guilt trip you, man. I’m just worried about you”
I let out a sigh, closing my eyes. I felt Eden’s thin arms wrap around me, her newly dyed turquoise hair brushing against my cheek. I rested my chin on her shoulder, sighing again.
“I’m here for you, buddy. I’ve know you’ve grown up coping on your own and bottling everything up but don’t you dare do that now, not when you’ve got two kids depending on you and people around you that want to help”
“I just miss him, y’know? And I want the kids to have a family again”
“They’ve still got a family, idiot” she said, punching my arm. “Sure, they might’ve lost one dad but they’ve still got you and your huge family. And they’ve got all your friends too. Nobody wants to replace him, but you’d be surprised by how many of your friends would help out if you asked them”
“You’re only saying that to make me feel better”
“No I’m not. If you ever need help making sure dinner’s on the table for them, I’m more than happy to cook something for you all. I’ve cut back on my shifts so I can go and get them from school a couple days a week to give you a break or whatever. I know John doesn’t mind having them over and I’m sure Alex and Caleb can babysit if you need a night off. You’ve got your brother’s friends as well, Hadley. We all want to help, you just have to let us in”
“Eden, it’s fine, I don’t need any help”
“For fuck’s sake, Hadley” she muttered, keeping her voice low so no one would overhear her swearing. “You’re so fucking stubborn”
“I’m not stubborn, I’m coping”
“But that’s exactly my point, you’re not coping. I haven’t seen you eat in weeks”
“M’not hungry” I shrugged.
“Don’t you dare lie to me, Hadley Fuller-Smith. I know it’s hard losing someone you love, but you have to pick yourself up and carry on. You can’t just sit there and wallow in self-pity for months on end”
“How would you know what it feels like?”
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me, Hadley”
“Like what? You seem to have a perfect fucking life so what don’t I know about you?” I snapped.
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe the fact that my three best friends have all died. I’m not from around here, kid. And I know that might sound like I ran away from it all, but I didn’t. I made peace with my ghosts there and then I moved out here to start again”
“Did you have to watch them die, though? Did you have to sit there feeling helpless while they slipped away because there was nothing you could do about it?”
“Yes I fucking did! Keith was the best friend I ever had and I watched him die. We all watched him die. That was why the other two killed themselves”
I bit my lip at the rage in her eyes, shrinking back in on myself like a kicked puppy. I’d never seen Eden mad before, and in that moment it felt like she was just about ready to kill me.
“Sorry” I mumbled, staring at my feet.
Eden sighed. “It’s my fault, I shouldn’t have snapped at you”
“How did he die?” I asked quietly.
“Not here, Hadley” she said, walking off to signal the end of our conversation.
Well done, Hadley.